Heat is expensive!
January 3, 2009 7:50 PM Subscribe
My heating bill is about twice as much as my downstairs neighbors'. What's going on, and what can I do to mitigate the cost?
posted by backseatpilot to home & garden (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I live in a multifamily house on the second floor. My gas bill was $240 last month, twice that of my downstairs neighbors. Even with the differences in the apartments (enumerated below), this seems ridiculous. I left a message for the landlord to talk about it, but I would like to know two things - what should I ask her to look at, and what can I do to the apartment to insulate it better?
Some data points:
-Replacement windows were installed a year or two before I moved in, but they're very drafty. I can feel a breeze while sitting on the couch.
-There are lots of doors to the apartment. Two doors to the unheated stairway (one is sealed but not insulated around the jamb), one to the front balcony, and one in the kitchen to the (also unheated) back staircase. None of them seem terribly well insulated. Downstairs only has two doors, one main entrance and a door to the backyard.
-Downstairs only uses one of the two bedrooms. They've turned off the radiator to the guest room.
-Downstairs also has doors in the doorways that go to the back half of the apartment, which they keep closed. The kitchen is in the back and is unheated. The previous tenants in my place removed the doors and hardware.
-The heat is natural gas with radiators (unsure what type, but they do hiss and spit a lot).
-Downstairs also replaced their thermostat with a programmable model. I only have the manual round dial type that requires me to remember to turn the heat down.
-I keep the heat at about 68 when I'm in the apartment and 60-ish at night and when I go to work.
-Both apartments use the same model boiler and same basic heating setup.
-There is a third apartment above mine that uses electric baseboard heaters (I think). There's no boiler for upstairs.
-The apartment is two bedrooms, maybe 700-800 square feet. Lots of windows - 6 plus two doors in the living room alone.
With all that, does it seem there's enough of a difference between the two apartments to warrant such a huge discrepancy in heating costs? Is it reasonable to ask the landlord to seal up the windows? Could the thermostat be broken? How can I seal the doors to the apartment?
Also, I realize this is paranoid but is it at all possible that the upstairs apartment is leeching heat from my boiler? How can I tell if that's the case?
This is my first winter in this apartment, and the first place I haven't had heat included in the rent, so I really have no idea what I should be paying on my gas bill.